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An Easy Way to Be Useful: Share Your Expertise With Social Bookmarking

by Joe Loong on January 14, 2009

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If you’re not ready to do full-on blogging for your small business (or even if you are), an easy way to help people, share knowledge about your field, and help build your reputation as a helpful, useful person, is to publicly share Web links to items and resources that you, yourself, find useful.

The premise is simple: Things that you bookmark because they are useful to you may be useful to others. As an expert in your field, your recommendations are worth something, so by recognizing things as useful, sharing them publicly, and adding a little bit of your expertise through categorization and annotation, helps make these useful things more accessible to others.

What kind of items are we talking about? It’s a little subjective. Whether you’re a consultant, tradesperson, retailer, or cook, it’s whatever you find useful as you conduct your business: References, new techniques, calculators, trends, tools, news stories that affect your industry, etc. Sure, some of it may be inside baseball, but then you never know what other people may find useful.

Why share your links? For starters, you’re doing it already — you’re just doing it for an audience of one. Instead of hoarding useful links in your browser’s personal bookmarks (where they benefit no one but you), share them with the world, add to the sum total of human knowledge, make the world a better place and so on and so forth. Oh, and help build your reputation as someone who knows what they’re talking about and is willing to help others.

Like I said, social bookmarking is a really easy way to see what all this social sharing stuff is about. Depending on the tool, it’s a matter of clicking a link, adding some descriptive tags, and writing up a quick description. It doesn’t need to be elaborate — just enough information so that you’ll be able to find it in a search later on, and recall just what made it interesting in the first place.

In terms of specific tools, you can use any tool that lets you save, annotate and organize your bookmarks in a place other people can see. I’m thinking primarily of delicious (I don’t use any of their community features, just use them purely for bookmarking) and similar services (like ShareThis).

You also have social linksharing sites like Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon, though people tend to focus on the social voting, traffic-driving aspects instead of the basic bookmarking features. And of course, you have microblogging sites; Twitter, of course, is good for distributing links, but less so for organizing and archiving them; others are Tumblr, and Posterous — anything that allows you to post a quick entry with a link and a description.

Of course, it doesn’t help you if you’re being helpful and no one knows about it. You can add a static link to your public, socially-shared bookmarks, though an even better solution is to display a feed of your recently bookmarked items (services typically provide widgets that you can embed in your Web sites) and make the feed available.

Sharing your expertise through bookmarks is easy; it’s useful; and you’re doing it already. Why not do it for a wider audience?

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